Braised Chinese Pork Belly

From issue #8.
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Braised Chinese Pork Belly

Slow cooking meat this way results in meltingly tender meat and a well flavoured broth to either serve with it, as in this pork dish, or to use for soups.

Serves: 4-6


1.5 kilogram piece pork belly, skin on
5 cm piece ginger, thinly sliced

Braising stock
1 litre of water
10 gram sachet instant dashi powder
150 mls Chinese cooking wine – Shaoxing
150 mls mirin
5 star anise
4 cloves garlic, sliced
50 grams rock sugar
200 mls soy sauce
1 red chilli, halved and seeded
1 orange
1 bunch bok choy, washed and drained
3 spring onions, thinly sliced


Pork: Place the pork in a large pot with the sliced ginger. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Drain and discard the water and ginger.

Braising: In the same pot put the water, dashi powder, shaoxing, mirin, star anise, garlic, rock sugar, soy and the chilli. Use a vegetable peeler to remove thin strips of orange peel and add this to the pot along with the pork. Place a heat-proof plate over the pork to keep it sub-merged, cover and simmer gently for 1-11⁄2 hours. Allow to sit in the stock for 10 minutes after cooking.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and drop in the bok choy. Cook for 1-2 minutes then drain well.

To serve: Place a few pieces of bok choy in the bottom of shallow serving bowls. Slice the pork and lay on top. Spoon over the hot stock and garnish with spring onions. Serve with steamed jasmine rice. Serves 4-6

Dashi: a soup stock used often in Japanese cookery. Dashi is made from dried bonito tuna flakes, dried kelp and water. It is most commonly available in a powdered form.

Mirin: a Japanese rice wine used to add mild sweetness to dishes.

Shaoxing rice wine: derived from glutinous rice, China’s most famous rice wine has a soft, rich flavour and is enjoyed like a fine sherry, although wine specified for cooking is rather harsh in comparison. The flavour enriches braised dishes and marinades.

Rock sugar: Luminous amber crystals, less sweet than regular sugar and used to sweeten Chinese dishes and tea. All readily available at Asian supermarkets